Wednesday, January 30, 2008

With Thanks

Dear Kristine,
Thank you for participating yesterday and sharing your creativity. I never would've thought to puree my tomatoes and I assure you it definitely made a difference. We enjoyed your soup creation even without any beloved cheese. And I was able to make some cornbread to go along with it. It was like chili, but not. It was good and meaty.

You win!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Our First Contest

Erin has called for a contest over here, and I think it sounds like a fun idea! So here we go!

Only there are no maybe that's not a real contest. But anyway, if you want to participate, the contest is to see who can come up with the most creative and delicious recipe from the items that I have in my home at this moment.

So here is what's in my pantry (or fridge, as the case may be):

2 potatoes
1 head garlic
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 reg. can pinneapple chunks
bag of frozen corn
bag of frozen green beans
bag of frozen spinach
bag of frozen celery
fresh spinach
cottage cheese
lb of ham
lb of ground beef
updated: upon looking more closely at the picture below I realized that we also have quick oatmeal and maple syrup, if that helps

I also have the very basic staples of: a dozen eggs, sugar, flour, cornmeal, and some standard spices. And that's about it.

So if you think you can come up with an appetizing recipe from these items, go for it! My family will thank you. Just post your suggestions in the comments.

And thanks for playing.


Monday, January 28, 2008


I am not much of a fish fan, but this was delicious. I found it on my favorite recipe website. I served with some couscous and broccoli. Enjoy!

Dijon Lemon Tilapia

2 tsps margarine
1 tsps flour
1/4 cup water
2 TBS white wine
1 tsp dijon style mustard
1 TBS lemon juice
10 ounces tilapia filets
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/8 tsp salt

  1. In a small saucepan, heat the margarine until hot. Sprinkle with flour, and combine. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in water, wine, and mustard. Return to heat, and bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat and let simmer, stirring contantly, until sauce is thickened. Stir in 1 T lemon juice. Remove from heat and keep warm.
  2. Sprinkle Tilapia fillets with remaining lemon juice. Spray broiling pan rack with cooking spray. Transfer fish to rack and broil until the fish flakes easily; approximately 5 minutes. Sprinkle fillets with salt, than spoon sauce over fish.

Mommy's Little Helper

I was scrounging through our cabinets, trying to get some sort of meal plan with what we have on hand. Peter's first paycheck comes next Wednesday and the thing I'm most looking forward to is grocery shopping!!!

Charles thought that he would help me out, but well, I think he was thinking, "What are we supposed to do with this?"

Friday, January 25, 2008

Cooking Slow

This was kind of fun. Laura and Dan are on their way up here as we speak, and I figured I really ought to have something to offer them. Something Friday-friendly and quick. Then I saw this on my daily slow cooker calendar (Fix It and Forget It). Also this was my first slow cooker attempt at something that wasn't soupy or was fun!! Maybe I'll bake a cake in it next...

Parmesan Garlic Quick Bread
1 1/2 cups buttermilk baking mix*
2 egg whites
1/2 cup milk
1 T minced onions**
1 T sugar
1 1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 c Parmesan cheese

1. Combine baking mix, egg whites, milk, onions, sugar, and garlic in a mixing bowl.
2. Spray slower cooker with cooking spray. Pour dough into cooker.
3. Sprinkle Parmesan on top of the dough.***
4. Cook on high 1 hour.****

*I used worked. I think that's what they meant.

**I used dried onion flakes b/c I'm out of onions.

*** I would also recommend sprinkling some salt on top, if you like salt. I wish I had thought to sprinkle salt on it before it cooked, but I did it afterwards.

****Lastly, the timing - always the hardest part with slow cookers. An hour and the middle was still doughy. I cut out the done pieces and put the top back on to let the center finish baking...took about 20 more minutes.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Healthy Black Bean Roll-Ups

It's been awhile since I've post. I'm on a healthy diet and my post would go something like this:

Defrost chicken
Place chicken in oven
Bake chicken
Eat Chicken

Fun huh? Last night though, I did have a fun healthy dinner! It is actually a recipe from Anne's mother-in-law for black bean roll-up’s.

Healthy Black Bean Roll-Up’s
1 pack of flour tortilla’s
1 red bell pepper, chopped
8 oz cream cheese (I used fat free)
6 green onions, chopped
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
juice from half of a lime.

Mix all ingredients together. Spread 2-4 tablespoons of bean mixture on one entire side of tortilla. Roll up and place tooth pick to secure. Refrigerate over night. Cut and enjoy!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Book to Share

Ladies, ladies! I'm so glad to be back. I haven't done a ton of cooking in my absence, as we're still waiting for that first paycheck from the new job (if you don't read my other blog - we've moved, Peter has a job, I'm at home) so the grocery list has been mostly necessities.

BUT, I do have a few recipes to share and an awesome new resource: Simply in Season. It's a cookbook that my sister in law gave to me as a Christmas present. The recipes are divided by what's fresh during each season.

So far all (3) of the recipes that I've tried have been A+'s. I'll share some of them soon!

It's good to be back in the kitchen. I missed my fellow cookers.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Gingerbread Cake (borrowed from Bless Us Oh Lord"

Thanks Barbara...this one's a keeper

Amazing..amazing..oh so delicious I am shoveling it in right now as I type..

Gingerbread Cake
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup molasses
1.5 cup flour
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and lightly flour one 8-inch square baking pan.

Cream butter and sugar till fluffy, add egg and molasses and beat. Sift together flour, salt , baking soda, ginger and cinnamon. Bring water to a boil. Add with flour mixture to creamed mixture alternatively beating well after each addition. Pour batter into cake pan. Bake 34-40 mins.

- i put a little bit of oil in my 1/2 cup befor adding the molasses and they came right out easily.

- it baked just fine at 35 mins, it oculd not have gone longer in my oven.

- I did what barbara did and made a cream cheese frosting...A---MAZING CAKE. I am licking the plate.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Garlic Soup Recipe

Baked Garlic and Onion Cream Soup

(I made a half recipe and it made MORE than enough for 4)

6 large onions, cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 HEADS garlic, cloves separated and peeled
5 cups Chicken Stock
1.5 tsp dried thyme leaves
salt and pepper to taste
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) butter
2 cups heavy cream
2 tbsp chopped Italian parsley for garnish (didn't bother with this)

Preheat oven to 350.

Place onions and garlic in shallow roasting pan and add 3 cups chicken stock. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and thyme.

Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake for 1.5 hrs. Stir once or twice while baking.

Remove pan and puree the onions and garlic WITH the liquid in batches in a food procesor or blender till smooth. Gradually add the remaining 2 cups stock and the cream. Pour soup into a large saucepan.

Adjust the seasonings nad slowly heat through. DO NOT ALLOW SOUP TO BOIL. Sprinkle with parlsey and serve.

6 - 8 portions

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Garlic Soup and How I Kicked It's Butt

Some of you may remember me from such posts as "the cook who turned her garlic soup green" and "garlic soup 1, kristine 0". No i'm just kidding. My soup did turn green, but I refuse to loose to soup. Tuesday night I made it again and I triumphed and it was glorious. It was ridiculously easy, but a tad time consuming, although that is mostly letting the onion/garlic roast in the oven while you do other things. I have another garlic soup recipe from a friend that I am going to try next and see which soup I like better, but for later tonight I will post the recipe that I used on Tuesday.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Apple Cake

It's been awhile since anyone posted so I'll post this cake that I baked the other day for a friend who just had a baby. I didn't take a picture of it, and I gave it away so I don't know if it tasted good. It sure smelled good in the oven, though! This is a good way to soothe that winter baking urge.
Note - I used pecans instead of walnuts because that's what i had in the cupboard.

2 cups apples - peeled, cored and diced
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup orange juice
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt or tube pan. In a medium bowl, combine the diced apples, 1 tablespoon white sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon; set aside. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, combine 2 cups white sugar, oil, orange juice, vanilla and eggs. Beat at high speed until smooth. Stir in flour mixture. Fold in chopped walnuts.
Pour 1/3 of the batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with 1/2 of the apple mixture. Alternate layers of batter and filling, ending with batter.
Bake in preheated oven for 55 to 60 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly touched. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

First Post!

Hi Everyone, I'm Beth and this is my first post on this blog :)

I haven't cooked very much since my baby girl was born 10 months ago - my husband has really stepped up and done some great cooking and cleaning the kitchen since then.

But I made some really great cupcakes the other day, and they are milk free and egg free for my kiddo, who is allergic to milk and has to wait until after 12 months to try eggs. Here goes:

Chocolate Cake- also called Wacky Cake
Milk, Egg, Peanut and Tree Nut Free
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
¾ cup oil
2 tsp vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups cold water
Mix all ingredients- you can even mix it right in the pan!! I usually mix in a bowl with an electric mixer. Pour into a greases 9x12 pan
Bake 350 for 35- 40 minutes

I made cupcakes, and they were cooked in about 22 minutes. I used storebought coconut pecan frosting and special dark cocoa. They were delicious! Madeleine even had some - I think we'll make this for her first birthday.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Skillet Beef Stew

I found this recipe in the January 2008 issue of Better Homes and Gardens. It turned out pretty well. I think I prefer beef stew that's been simmering all day in a slow cooker, when the flavors have all melded together all day and the beef gets really tender, but this is a good recipe if you want some for dinner and you don't happen to think of it until 4:30 or 5:00, which is what happened to me.

Skillet Beef Stew
(photo and recipe courtesy of

2 Tbsp. cooking oil
2 lb. cubed beef stew meat
2 tsp. dried thyme or oregano, crushed
6 medium carrots
, peeled and quartered
4 stalks celery,
cut in 2-inch lengths
2 medium onions
, cut in 1/2-inch slices
6 cups lower-sodium beef broth
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
Mashed Potatoes

In 12-inch skillet, brown beef in hot oil over medium-high heat with thyme and 1.4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Remove, set aside. Add carrots, celery, and onions to skillet, cook and stir 5 minutes. Return beef to skillet. In bowl whisk together broth and flour; add to skillet. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 45 minutes. Uncover; simmer 10 minutes or until meat is tender. Serve with potatoes. Makes 8 servings.

My Notes: I used about a tablespoon of fresh thyme instead of dried. I'm not sure if it made any difference. Also, I only had 4 cups of beef broth, so I just added about 1 1/2 cups of water and a little less flour. The recipe says "12-inch skillet" and they mean it - my 12-inch skillet was almost full and was short 1/2 cup of broth. If you don't have a skillet this big, you could just brown your meat and veggies in the bottom of a Dutch oven and make the stew in it as well. (It would just take the meaning out of the title of the recipe)

All in all, it turned out pretty well. I would say it tastes more like pot roast and vegetables with a ton of gravy than beef stew, but it's still very good, especially when poured over a heaping mound of hot mashed potatoes. Great comfort food!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Really good and CHEAP

Tonight I tried a baked chicken...the whole bird. I was able to find a small 3 lb. one at Target that already had the innards taken out. It is darn tasty

1 3lb. chicken
1 lemon, halved
1 onion, halved
rosemary, to your taste
thyme, to your taste
minced garlic, to your taste
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons lemon juice

preheat oven to 400. place halved lemon and onion into the chicken. salt and pepper the outside of the bird. sprinkle rosemary and thyme on the outside to your taste. shove a spoonful of minced garlic inside the bird. bake 400 for 30 minutes. turn oven to 350. pour lemon juice and chicken broth over the top. bake an additional hour until thermometer reads 180 degrees.


Sunday, January 6, 2008

A Success and a Green Failure...

because all my recipes come with a story...

I was busy the kitchen that is. So in November I went on this dance retreat and one of the guys cooked this amazing delicious incredible, i had 2 servings and licked the bowl" garlic soup. Oh was it divine. So today, I was determined to make it. Only, upon telling my mom about the recipe I had, she claimed she had a similiar one. So I decided to make hers tonight and the other guy's next time. Her's is out of the New Basic's Cookbook. I'm not posting it. Because I killed it. I made it green. I failed. When I tasted it, the garlic was more subtle than I remember it being, so I minced some more..okay a lot more garlic into it and the flavor was ..well..biting, stinging..too darn strong. I tried to counter it by adding fresh lemon juice nad letting it all cook for a while longer. Cooking makes the flavor of the garlic lessen, and I used the lemon because when I was on the retreat we had lemon slices we squeezed into the soup. However, after about 20 minutes of this, the soup began to turn green. How sad. By the time I dumped it in the toilet because NO ONE in myhouse would eat it, it was definitely very neon green....

Not to be outdone by my own stupidity, I searched the New Basics cookbook for something else to make for dinner. I found this and made it and it is AMAZING.
And economical. You use less beef, so it's cheaper on the budget..Or you could make it with lamb or chicken too if you wanted to..

The burgers...kind of fell apart, but they're still delicious. And that picture that's kind of blown out is the chick peas being mashed with a potato masher.

Meadow Burgers
8 ounces lean ground beef
1 cup fiinely chopped fresh spinach
1/2 cup finely grated carrots
1/2 cup cooked chickpeas, smashed
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp salt
fresh ground pepper, to taste

Preheat the broiler.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mix well till blended. Shape into four 4-inch patties.

Broil the patties close to the heat source for 3 minutes per side for rare, or longer to taste.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Teriyaki Marinade

I found this marinade recipe in my Weight Watchers cookbook. It is delicious. I put it on the pork chops I made tonight. I'm sure it would be good with chicken too.

Teriyaki Marinade

1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger (i used dry)

It is per serving size of 2 tablespoons 38 calories, 1 gram of fat and 7 grams of carbs.

It is delicious

Testing, Testing

1. 2. 3.

On Eating (salsa in particular)

This diet has been good for a number of reasons, much as I like to complain about it (although I don't think it has helped Charles much at all). One of those reasons was the introduction of salsa to my life. I thought I didn't like it before. I was wrong. It is a beautifully colorful food that tastes delicious paired with chips.

I wonder how many other delicious foods I am missing out on because I thought that I didn't like them?

Other benefits of this diet include: weight loss and finally getting this family to begin eating a bit healthier.

Feeding Charles his first meal the other day made me realize how very much I want to keep this family eating healthy. And now as homemaking becomes my full-time job (thank You God) I'll have the time to devote to it. I want Charles to enjoy food but I want him to enjoy real food not different varities of boxed food. So while I'm sure boxed food might have some level of involvement in our lives, I hope it does not take the spotlight.

One other little homemaking/cooking thing I've been wanting to do since we got married is designate Sunday as dessert day and make a homemade dessert each Sunday to go with dinner. Peter and I will take turns picking dessert until Charles is old enough to participate! We'll also celebrate patron saints' feast days and other special days with dessert, but other than that we'll try to stay away from dessert on a daily basis - unless you want to count fruit as a dessert.

Just one of the little ways I get to help make our house a home. Can you tell that I'm eager to get started?!

Thursday, January 3, 2008


Dinner was absolutely fabulous and easy too! Thanks Barbara.

Some minor changes:
  • canned beans (white, not red - it's what was on hand)
  • green peppers instead of celery
  • simmered all ingredients (minus rice) on the stove top over low for about 2 hours
  • and I sorta halved the recipe - except I used all of the garlic
  • came out soupier than expected so we used a slotted spoon to serve
I took some gambles and it turned out great! I can't wait to make it again.

Oh and Laura was over for dinner; and she liked it, too. We decided smoked sausage is some of our very favorite meat!